ra·​ga | \ ˈrä-gə How to pronounce raga (audio) \

Definition of raga

1 : one of the ancient traditional melodic patterns or modes in Indian music
2 : an improvisation based on a traditional raga — compare tala entry 1

Examples of raga in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The song is stealthily subversive: a traditional raga—the classical Indian framework for musical improvisation—has been laid over an infectious beat that sounds South Asian, Middle Eastern, and, improbably, reggaetón, all at once. Priyanka Mattoo, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 In the long-limbed first movement, the solo violin traces one idea after another (Adams once compared this to Indian raga) in an ever-evolving, never-ending melody. Los Angeles Times, 9 Nov. 2021 This hypnotic collaboration between Andrew Bird and the collective Lucius offers a blend of the original version's experimental droning sound, old European folk music and Indian raga while touching on themes of submission and S&M. David Chiu, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 Tamil south whose heady origins can be traced to the incense-and-raga days of the 1960s. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 23 July 2021 On a floating stage draped with garlands of marigold and rose petals, the brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra, both wearing white kurtas and pajamas, sang verses of a meditative, melodious ancient raga as the Ganges River lapped around them. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2021 The raga and rock elements that made their earlier releases so psychedelic remain but with layers of poetry from their fellow downtown artist Jack Walls and audio from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. New York Times, 21 June 2018 What raga is to South Asian music — a system of melodic patterns that also serve broadly as a guide — maqam roughly is to Arab, Turkish and Persian music. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2018 While there’s no missing elements of maqam, free jazz, Turkish melody, Indian raga and more, the 80-minute suite’s achievement is building an epic journey that makes each ingredient far less meaningful than the sweeping whole. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, 1 Feb. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'raga.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of raga

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for raga

Sanskrit rāga, literally, color, tone; akin to Sanskrit rajyati it reddens, Greek rhezein to dye

Learn More About raga

Dictionary Entries Near raga




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for raga

Cite this Entry

“Raga.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raga. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on raga

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about raga


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!